Networked Urbanism: Urban Waste – Urban Design

Waste is the result of bad design

Networked Urbanism: Urban Waste – Urban Design
Waste is the result of bad design

Cities cover 2 percent of the world\’s surface, yet generate 70 percent of the world\’s waste.
Waste is not only trash, it’s an intricate mix of social, environmental, and infrastructural outcomes that ensue at distinct scales, but overall, waste is the outcome of bad design.

Boston is listed as one of the top ten greenest cities in the US and Canada (The Economist, 2011), but its waste ranking is one of the worst. Even though Boston has nearly doubled its residential recycling rate over the past five years, and despite the tens of millions of dollars spent on a raft of new programs and the availability of curbside recycling to nearly everyone, the city only managed to recycle 19 percent (30,000 tons) of all its residential garbage within the last year, compared to 80% in San Francisco, 60% in Seattle, and other cities, like Austin and Jacksonville, which recycled more than 30% of their household trash.
The topic of waste is currently being discussed by the city of Boston, who is searching for new ideas to improve their existing waste recycling system.

The aim of the studio will be to upstream to the designer’s desk, where waste should be designed. Accepting waste as one of the fundamental inadequacies of design provides us with the “problem” that we need to propose equitable and sustainable solutions for. As designers, we will aim to streamline the process and systems by which waste is created, disposed of, and managed at both the human scale (individual) and urban scale (community).

Can we designers improve and reduce the amount of waste?
Can we make its management more efficient?
Can we raise awareness by making its presence more transparent/visible?
Can we develop new tools enabling people to behave/cooperate/achieve better performance?
What are the urban design implications of waste treatment?
Can waste stimulate our creativity?

Networked Urbanism Studio aims to bring interdisciplinary problem solving to the forefront of our work by working to solve real-world problems and providing an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities, from a bird’s eye view and a single designer’s perspective. It will not only examine the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes and fluxes.
Networked Urbanism blends critical theory with hands-on practice, progressive thinking with social engagement, and research with reflection in action. Students will also have the opportunity to work directly with Greenovate Boston, a community-driven movement aiming to reduce the city’s GHG emissions.

Irregular Schedule:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays 2 – 6 pm
Studio meets 8/29 (evening); and 9/3, 9/4, 9/10, 9/17, 9/18, 10/1, 10/2, 10/8, 10/15, 10/16, 10/22, 10/23, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19, 11/20, 12/3, and 12/4. Additionally, Belinda and Jose will be available to meet individually with students at mutually agreeable times the days that they are in town. They will also offer opportunities to connect via Skype on weeks when they are out of town.